Forgive my lack of skill in writing. After all, this is my first draft of this piece, and at being married, and at life, and we all know that first drafts always need revision and care.
The breeze created by my own movement fingered through my boyishly short hair. The perfect summer evening temperature slammed into my body as I pedaled in an effort to pummel into as much of it as possible. Why had I ever gone a moment without owning a bicycle? This rolling momentum that is so much more smooth and rapid than walking was something I hadn’t experience since I was a child.
I smiled widely to myself at the glimpse of my last memory on a bicycle. I had probably been about ten, and in an attempt to impress myself and some of the neighbor kids, I tried to pop a wheelie. The bolt on my front wheel had become loose, and as I lifted it off the ground it slid away from the bike frame and rolled right away. I crashed. I was embarrassed. Ouch on my body and my ego. That must be why I stayed away from this marvelous modem of transportation for so long. Now that I had decided to take it up again, it was definitely was worth the risk. The neighbor kids were grown up and gone away. I no longer felt the need to impress.
I rode between the church and the old Masons’ Temple. The duskiness of the outside light, and the oldness of the streets and buildings as they whisked by at a medium speed, left streaks of themselves in my mind, and made me laugh out loud with a child-like happiness. I began to reflect on why I had not felt this happiness all day. It was my birthday after all, and who doesn’t deserve to be gleefully happy on their birthday? Only bad guys, and I was decidedly not one of those.
I thought back to walking out of my little home that morning and seeing the beautiful minty-green and white beach cruiser parked in front of my door. I had gone to bed upset, and I woken up upset, and I didn’t want to go back in and thank him. But I did because that would have been heartlessly rude. But I stayed upset.
He tried to take me on a birthday date, and I said, “No. We don’t have money”. As he protested that we would manage, and he would find a job soon, I said, “I guess you should have thought about that before you decided to not really work at finding a job, and definitely before you decided to spend money on video games”. That was all. Then I turned back to the sink full of dishes and put my pouty face on. He kissed me on my forehead, said Happy Birthday, and walked away.
I hadn’t thought about the fact that he hadn’t bought anything for himself in some time. Not about the fact that he has only played video games perhaps 10 times in the few years we've been together. I hadn’t thought about the fact that he was as stressed as I was. I hadn’t thought about the fact that looking for a job in a small town only provides so many options, and he was doing what he knew to do. I didn’t let him take me out.
Now it was a few hours later, and I was finally getting my first ride on this thoughtful and beautiful gift he had given me. I rounded the block by the house and immediately felt ashamed that I had behaved as I did. He had given me a gift that helped me drive my stress from my mind, and made me feel like a kid again, and I had given him some snappy words and a bad attitude. He had still been so loving.
I made a final loop and let the hands of that breeze pass over the surface of my face one more time. The light of the sun going down over the swampy horizon shot out brilliant shafts of orange, pink, and purple. I pedaled that brand-new contraption back into the carport, crossed the front yard, and went to find my husband for a big fat kiss.